Architecture/Machine. Programs, processes, and performances Conference ETH Zurich

Zurich, January 30 – 31, 2015
From the mid-eighteenth century through to the present day, architecture has been repeatedly imagined, defined or designed as a machine. While a strongly deterministic reading – as in “machine for living”– has held sway ever since the term was coined in the 1920s, usage of the machine concept actually needs to be understood in a much broader sense. Describing architecture as a machine has in various epochs and in the light of changing technologies always also implied paying attention to its performative properties in the context of certain processes and procedures, ranging from design to construction and use. Such performative properties may manifest themselves in spatial dimensions or contexts, in technical apparatus, or in other physical conditions. What distinguishes the concept of architecture-as-machine – considered from a genealogical perspective and independently of its various semantic nuances – is that the respective requirements of any architectural program can be individually thematized and hence also individually planned. The ‘machinic’ of the architecture/machine accordingly implies not merely a context of production or a normative mechanism but, primarily and fundamentally, a relationship between the architectural object and the processes it involves.
The conference examines the history of the architecture/machine from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day in the light of the above. It focuses not necessarily on literal machine metaphors but generally on historical instances of discursive or material articulation that formulate a relationship between architecture and machines. The conference contributions will be pursuing this theme through analyses of concrete buildings, spaces, devices, or apparatus, respectively the ways in which these are represented or described.
09:00 Welcome & Coffee
09:30-10:00 Laurent Stalder: Introduction
Panel 1: Flow, Chair: Martino Stierli
10:00-10:30 Moritz Gleich: Équipements
10:30-11:00 Julian Jachmann: Water/Space
11:00-11:30 Dustin R. Valen: Indoor Environments
11:30-12:00 Discussion
12.00-14:00 Lunch Break
Panel 2: (Dis-)Connection, Chair: Martino Stierli
14:00-14:30 Daniel Gethmann: Walls
14:30-15:00 John Harwood: Wires
15:00-15:30 Michael Osman: Steel
15:30-16:00 Discussion
16:00-16:30 Coffee Break
Panel 3: Delegation, Chair: Ita Heinze-Greenberg
16:30-17:00 Reinhold Martin: Personhood
17:00-17:30 Martin Bressani: Prothèse
17:30-18:00 Monika Dommann: Trading Pit
18:00-18:30 Discussion
18:30 Aperitif
09:30 Welcome & Coffee
Panel 4: Transmission, Chair: Ita Heinze-Greenberg
10:00-10:30 Susanne Jany: Gleichstrom
10:30-11:00 Florian Sprenger: Electricity
11:00-11:30 Carlotta Darò: Sound Conduits
11:30-12:00 Discussion
12.00-14:00 Lunch Break
Panel 5: Normalisation, Chair: Stanislaus von Moos
14:00-14:30 Kijan Espahangizi: Glass
14:30-15:00 Sabine von Fischer: Tapping Machine
15:00-15:30 Spyros Papapetros: Ornament Machine
15:30-16:00 Discussion
16:00-16:30 Coffee Break
Panel 6: Environment, Chair: Stanislaus von Moos
16:30-17:00 Daniel Barber: Thermoheliodon
17:00-17:30 Alessandra Ponte: Windscreen
17:30-18:00 Molly Steenson: Mesoscale
18:00-18:30 Discussion
Venue: ETH Zurich, Zentrum, Clausiusstr. 59, RZ F21
Organisation: Department of Architecture Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture
Chair for the Theory of Architecture, Dr. Laurent Stalder, Moritz Gleich
Reference / Quellennachweis: CONF: Architecture/Machine (Zurich, 30-31 Jan 15). In: H-ArtHist, Dec 18, 2014. <>

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